The Briscoe Celebrates the Role of Black Cowboys and the Diversity of the West During 7th Birthday Event on Oct 24th
The Briscoe Western Art Museum will showcase the many colors of the West during its 7th birthday celebration by offering a series of events that feature the role of Black cowboys and the diversity of the West. The daylong celebration takes place on Saturday, October 24th and will shine a light on museums’ important role in telling accurate stories of the past through art. Events include the unveiling and installation of Mark Maggiori’s new work “Once Upon a Time”. As both a French-American and one of the world’s premier contemporary Western artists, Maggiori brings his own unique perspective of diversity. Guests will also enjoy stories of Black cowboys through history by Larry Callies, Curator of the Black Cowboy Museum, cowboy storyteller and poet Clifton Fifer, Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers and more.
Sweet Treats, Discounted Admission and A Chance to Win
Family fun for the day includes an individually wrapped cupcake to celebrate the Briscoe turning seven and a take-home craft. Lil Partners can draw themselves saddling up and riding the range using the supplies included. Parents are encouraged to take a photo of the masterpiece and post it to social media, tagging @briscoemuseum and #ManyColorsoftheWest for a chance to win a family membership to the Briscoe and four Briscoe Fiesta medals.
The Briscoe’s birthday celebration is included with general admission to the museum. Become a part of the celebration by dressing up in your best Western gear and receive a 20 percent discount off standard admission for one person in your party. As always, children 12 and under receive free admission, as do active duty members of the military, making the Briscoe a terrific spot for families to enjoy.
The Briscoe’s Seventh Birthday Celebrating Many Colors of the West
Saturday, Oct. 24
Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Learn the history of Buffalo soldiers from the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association members as they roam the galleries and interact with visitors to the museum. Dressed in replica blue union Army uniforms worn by the Buffalo soldiers in the late 1800s, members will share the stories of an 1800s trail driver and the only recorded female Buffalo soldier, Cathay Williams. Since women were not allowed to serve then, Williams disguised herself as a man to enlist in the army, serving from 1866-68. The troops were members of the all-Black U.S. Army units formed by Congress in 1866 after the end of the Civil War, giving former slaves, freedmen and African American Civil War veterans an opportunity to serve.
“Once Upon a Time” Unveiling and Installation, 11 a.m.
Be among the first to see the Briscoe’s newest work donated by one of the world’s top Western artists, Mark Maggiori as he joins Michael Duchemin, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Briscoe Western Art Museum to unveil “Once Upon a Time”. An award winning Western contemporary artist known for his realistic and academically tuned works, Maggiori is a French artist who paints modern cowboys in the nostalgic American West. The artist is a graduate from the prestigious Academie Julian in Paris and has lived in the United States since 2010.
“Once Upon a Time” was sparked by Maggiori’s reaction to this summer’s protests for racial justice. “I wanted to help rectify history and show the next generation that cowboys back in the cattle drive time were not just white like Hollywood and history books portray. I chose the title to take the story from the beginning and rewrite the story. Once upon a time, there were also Black cowboys. And ever since, there have been Black cowboys,” explains Maggiori.
“Once Upon a Time: Black Cowboys of the West”, 2 p.m.
Larry Callies, Curator of the Black Cowboy Museum in Rosenberg, Texas, brings to life the history and lives of Black cowboys in the West through his stories. Callies himself first started in rodeo when he was just 12 and was the second Black cowboy in Texas to make it to the National High School Rodeo Finals in 1971. Callies will share his story, as well as artifacts from the Black Cowboy Museum collection. Callies will also discuss stories of some of the Black cowboys who made an impact on the Western frontier, including Bass Reeves, Nat Love and Bill Pickett. Callies’ stories helped inspire Maggiori’s “Once Upon a Time” and he consulted with Maggiori on historic details and accuracy.
Clifton Fifer, Cowboy Storyteller and Poet, 3 – 5 p.m.
Clifton Fifer, former Kerrville Tivy History teacher, brings history to life in the saddles and spurs gallery of the Briscoe. A storyteller, cowboy poet, dancer, singer and historical interpreter for 35 years, Fifer is a fourth generation Texan that shares fascinating historical information of the life and times of the famous Buffalo soldier regiments of the United States Army.
Bringing the West to Life on the River Walk
The Briscoe’s collection of Western art and artifacts showcases the stories of the West through visual art. Collection highlights include Santa Anna’s sword, works by Frederic Remington, Pancho Villa’s last known saddle, a fantastic Alamo diorama and artifacts, contemporary and historic paintings, sculptures, an impressive spur collection, and other cowboy and Native American relics, weapons and photography. The collection spans 14 galleries in its restored 1930s building that features high ceilings and spacious areas for guests to stay safely socially distanced, as well as the museum’s McNutt Sculpture Garden, a lush public outdoor space featuring a beautiful courtyard surrounded by bronze sculptures that depict iconic figures of the American West. The sculpture garden offers the perfect respite during any River Walk visit, with tables, chairs and benches to rest and enjoy the view.
The Briscoe is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Briscoe is located on the south end of the River Walk, near the Arneson River Theatre and La Villita, with convenient parking at the Riverbend Garage directly adjacent to the museum or one of many downtown surface lots. Museum hours, parking and admission details are available online. The museum is operating at 75 percent capacity, with health and safety protocols that require both staff and guests to wear masks. Temperature checks are also conducted upon entry.